Malaysians joining ISIS in Syria taking indirect route to evade detection: police chief

A suspect who is a civil servant was among the three arrested by the Malaysian police for suspected links with the Islamic State (ISIS) group. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A suspect who is a civil servant was among the three arrested by the Malaysian police for suspected links with the Islamic State (ISIS) group. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (The Star/Asia News Network) - Malaysians planning to join the war in Syria are no longer taking direct flights in a bid to evade detection, said Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.

He said they would instead fly to nearby countries first before taking a connecting flight to a Middle East country.

Citing the case of the 30-year-old former National Service trainer linked to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) who was nabbed in KL International Airport on Wednesday, Khalid said the man was to fly to Brunei when he was stopped at the airport.

From Brunei, the man would take a flight to Turkey before entering Syria.

"This is one way to avoid detection as usually they would fly straight to Turkey or a Middle East country.

"But do not worry. We are on our toes," he told a press conference at Holiday Villa Hotel in Subang Jaya after attending the annual Balai League Table (BLT) awards 2014 for high-performing police stations.

The recognition is an initiative under the Government Transformation Programme's (GTP) crime reduction National Key Results Area (NKRA) introduced in July 2010.

He said the national crime index fell by 12 percent for the 11 months this year compared to the same period last year due to the effort and hard work put in by the police.

"Street crime also reduced 12.5 percent over the same period," he said.

Khalid said snatch thefts increased by 17 percent this year despite the overall drop in crime.

"We are studying the cause of this and are taking steps to rectify the problem," he said adding that the increase was noted in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Perak.